Pope Benedict XVI has chosen to drop the traditional papal title, “Patriarch of the West” reportedly, in hopes of furthering ecumenical conversations with Christian Orthodox Churches of the east.
The Vatican recently released its official yearbook, the “Annuario Pontificio” which will be available to the public later this month. The volume contains 8 traditional titles held by the Pope but leaves out, “Patriarch of the West” which always appeared in previous editions.
Reportedly, the Holy Father chose to remove the title, which was introduced into papal nomenclature in 1870, at the time of the first Vatican Council, because many of his discussions with Orthodox leaders have centered on the primacy of the Pope.
Likewise, John Paul II also is said to have considered dropping the title in favor of a more universal view of the papacy.
Watchers say that Pope Benedict wants to eliminate any implication that the Catholic Church is Church “of the west” and thus separate from other cultures and traditions—particularly in the east.
The other 8 titles contained in the Annuario include; "Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, and Servant of the Servants of God."